I WAS INTERESTED upon reading a ‘Bygones’ history piece today in the local Nottingham Post about a Nottingham Forest player from the early 1960s named Jim Iley. Jim had an excellent 550-game career at wing-half with amongst others, Spurs, Forest and Newcastle United, as well as becoming the manager of four football league clubs. A man whose opinion should perhaps be respected.
We often hear recurrent stories from older ex-professionals that, shall we say, are a little envious of modern day players and the rewards they receive. There is also a belief amongst some fans of the current game that players of Jim’s generation and before were somehow inferior or that the football played was of a poorer standard. This former player gives the lie to those beliefs.
Jim Iley, Nottingham Forest
Jim Iley states unequivocally that he doesn’t begrudge modern players their huge salaries, particularly because it remains a short career – however, with a caveat:
‘Good players deserve more money, but there are average players today getting paid fortunes who would not have got a game in our reserves.’
The former Reds player goes on to quote the better playing surfaces of today as well as the superior boots, fitness and diet. What really took my eye was this when talking about modern players though:
‘Clubs look after the player’s every needs these days and that’s something about the modern game that I don’t like. They are treated like babies in a way. The game has changed and not always for the better.’
I find that interesting. Arguments will always rage about the standards of teams and players in different eras and that’s fair enough – we often believe that ‘our’ heroes were better than those of other eras (I’ll stake a claim in that debate with Pele, Best, Maradona, Cruyff, Platini, et al in my own!) I have to say however that Jim’s second assertion here is spot-on. I think it’s one of the myriad of reasons why fans and players don’t seem to have the close relationship they used to have. Players are mollycoddled and I really don’t think it helps them. To give a small practical example it bemuses me to watch players when the ball becomes dead continually looking to the bench for instructions on how to play the game they are often handsomely paid for performing. Generally speaking it’s a lack of responsibility taking. I don’t however blame football players specifically though as, like so many issues in the game, it appears to be more of a societal problem generally – one that the game only reflects and manifests.
I think we’re all a little guilty of this – passing by things and places in our everyday lives without really looking at them. Maybe it’s the time expansion of modern life I’m not sure but I really do try to exercise a little mindfulness and understand and comprehend the things that surround me.
Speaking to an acquaintance recently, I came to hear about a little place of historic interest right in the city centre of Nottingham, one I had passed by hundreds if not thousands of times without paying any heed to. It’s a burial place, a tiny, now disused cemetery for those of the Jewish faith. All I could ever profess to previously noticing was a tall sandstone wall with what looked like a patch of unremarkable wasteland behind it.
The original Jewish Cemetery, North Sherwood Street, Nottingham
A little rudimentary research tells me that Jewish people resided in Nottingham near the old castle around the time of the Norman conquest until the year of 1290 at the time they were expelled from the country by King Edward I. Apparently they were acceded entry to the country again by Oliver Cromwell in 1657 with some settling in Nottingham for a century or so afterwards. Never a particularly prosperous community originally, it began to increase into the nineteenth century with the first synagogue in 1815 and merchants and businessmen from Germany arriving to stay, midway through that century.
Tablet above the door.
By the year of 1822 the town council agreed to lease the small area of just 144 yards to the Jewish community for use as a burial ground on North Sherwood Street, not far from the old town centre. The small plot was used until the 1860s when a larger area was required. My understanding is that a new cemetery was used after this time at Southey Street a few minutes walk away. Since then, a section of the large general cemetery at Wilford Hill to the south of the city has been used from around the middle of the twentieth century. The gate at North Sherwood Street’s little cemetery now remains locked, hiding it’s story.
Wherever we walk, history walks with us.
This evening I was reading with interest about some excessive hoarding stories on local website Nottstalgia. and it brought back some memories Around twenty five years ago i lived in a house in Arnold, Nottinghamshire and across the road lived a chap in his early sixties who’d I’d see emerging out of his house in the morning to work in the local brush factory in Arnold and home again in the evening. Later on every evening he would pop out of his door to go for a drink in the drinking clubs in Arnold, always very dapper, smartly suited, collar and tie like so many guys of that age used to be.
I came home from work early one afternoon to find two council trucks parked outside his home. He’d apparently been evicted. Asking the council workman what was going on he painted a strange story to me. The Gedling Borough Council lads had been through his semi-detached home and emptied it out. They told a tale of every room being chest high in rubbish. Just one corner of the living room remained free of trash and this was where he lived with a narrow trail to get through to it. The stairways were piled high with junk mail with just a thin path through. What was even more surprising was that the house had not had any running water for a long period of time. According to a neighbour, the chap would apparently buy new clothes, dress shirts, underwear etc. and wear them until they were filthy then dispose of them in the dustbin. That accounted for his apparent smartness (from a distance at least) as he had no means of keeping himself clean or doing any washing in the house. Another surprising factor was that he had also been a pools winner a few years ago and gained a moderate but significant haul.. Curiously he’d had the back garden landscaped amongst a few other cosmetic and slightly ill-advised home improvements but had presided over his hovel of an abode for several years.
He never once spoke to me or acknowledged me in the year or so I lived opposite. A strange, sad and somewhat reclusive man in some respects, but one who would go out and enjoy the social clubs in Arnold every single night. Few must have ever known the strange double life he led. All these years later, I often wonder what happened to my ex-neighbour and more importantly what the thought processes of this unusual man were. He perhaps won’t be with us now. I hope he’s alright wherever he is.
It’s been a fairly austere time to be a Hibs supporter for the past while. Positivity has been at an all-time low and good fortune is indeed always hiding. There is however one chink of daylight, one source of fun that’s always a guaranteed source of mirth. It comes in the form of Heart of Midlothian’s soon-to-be former owner and loopy Lithuanian, Vladimir Romanov. Many have been his sparkling statements over the past seven years via the organ of his club’s official website (the webmaster must run and hide when he sees the latest pearls of cranky wisdom heading his way) but I honestly think this might be one of the most messed-up yet. Here it is in all it’s glory:
Press me to listen
Vladimir Romanov statement
“As soon as Hearts moved closer to the third spot the monkeys start to squeal, lie and create conspiracy plots.
I thought I had expressed myself clearly – I am selling the club and I am not going to give any more money away. It is pointless to support show business, not football. Hearts is now living out of its own budget.
Everyone knew, including players, media and SPL that the wages are going to be paid as soon as the money was received for Eggert Jonsson, who was sold last year. But media still tried to create conspiracy plots about the team and managed to get a prompt and unwise decision from the SPL meeting, which the club asked it to postpone until next week in order to get opportunity to pay the wages.
As such I have not cheated anyone. The monkeys tricked the SPL, fans and themselves and showed who is in charge of the football mafia. They will continue to cheat as this is their job.
I am used to their lies. I remember when the fight started between two people at the end of one of our AGMs and all the cameras were there as they were expecting it. Later that episode was covered by all major stations as backdrop of the AGM, trying to portray the club as a mess.
I feel sorry for the poor monkeys. Mowgli is asking to work for the publicity of the Old Firm, that’s why they have to lie and tell tall stories.
But there is no future for Scottish football while these media monkeys are in charge. Not just for football, but for the whole country. When people tried to protest in the streets, media turned it into chaos, demonstrating masked instigators and hired gangsters in front of the cameras.
I have nothing to prove. Seven years ago I proved that there was no football, but only show business. When Kaunas threw Rangers out of the competition you switched your TV off to avoid embarrassment. Fear takes away the wisdom.
I am going to reiterate once again – I am not going to gift the club money anymore. The only thing left for the club to do is to develop its own youth and attempt to enlighten people who have been deceived and held as part of a stupid crowd by Mowgli.
The progress is there – Mowgli is under prosecution and in exile. But until they open a zoo for the monkeys and keep them in cages, they will keep jumping on people who are straightforward and not afraid to speak.”
Yes, you read that right. Pull back your chair, go and have a cup of coffee and some fresh air or something. Collect yourself.
Boy, I’m going to miss this man when his wagon finally rolls out of Edinburgh. All we need to figure out now is who is Mowgli? This could take as long as it took to discover who shot JR.